LONDON, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Growth in the world's private sector businesses hit a nine-month high at the end of last year, supported by a buoyant service sector, a report showed on Friday.
The Global Total Output index, produced by JPMorgan with research and supply management organisations, rose to 53.7 in December from November's 53.6, its highest reading since March.
"Growth of the global economy peaked at a nine-month high in December, led by a solid increase in service sector output and signs of a muted recovery in manufacturing production," said David Hensley, director of global economics coordination at JPMorgan.
"The global economy is therefore entering the new year on a positive footing and, with trends in demand and other forward looking indicators still supportive, should maintain this momentum in the coming months."
New orders came in at their fastest pace for nine months with the sub index rising to 52.9 from November's 52.2 and firms increased their workforces at the fastest pace since March.
The Global Services index held steady last month at November's 54.8, comfortably above the 50 mark that divides growth from contraction.
Business activity in the U.S. perked up in the final month of 2012, data showed earlier on Friday, while hopes grew that Europe may be through the worst of its economic slump.
Britain's services sector, however, contracted for the first time in two years, suggesting the broader economy probably shrank as well in the final three months of 2012.
Global manufacturing activity expanded last month for the first time since May, supported by solid output gains in China, the United States and Britain, data on Wednesday showed.
The index combines survey data from countries including the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia.